Encouraging Positive Youth Development through Music

Hey, y’all! It’s Music Major and Anthro Minor Kneeco Hanton ’21 lookin’ to share the time I spent serving both Miami and Chicago branches of the Guitars Over Guns Organization (GOGO). Even before officially starting my internship with GOGO Chicago, I was already learning valuable lessons from my supervisor Andrew DeMuro. One of the first things I learned is the importance of making decisions that take into consideration safety, accessibility, and meaningfulness. If the choice is not protecting the wellbeing of yourself or others, readily available for all parties involved, and carrying purpose, then this choice is probably not the one to be made. I not only applied this line of reasoning to the work I completed during my internship, but continue to apply this line of reasoning to tough decisions that I need to make for myself. I also came out of my first two weeks within the internship having a better understanding of Adult Learning Theory, and this was very useful for me because I now have a tool to develop lesson plans for things I want to teach.

I also grew personally in ways that I didn’t expect. Many of the projects I took on gave me an opportunity to challenge the Imposter Syndrome that often stifles my ability to perform at my very best. When I had the opportunity to put my anthropological skills of informal interviewing to the test, I was full of fear and self-doubt. All the education and experience I received during my time at Wheaton meant nothing when I lacked the confidence and positive self-image that tied everything together. However, I dispelled my doubts for the most part when I was able to successfully accomplish my tasks in my own, professional way. Not only did challenging my Imposter Syndrome raise my confidence, but my growth improved my sense of self-worth as well. I realized after my time with GOGO that I could never work within a career environment that does not treat me the way GOGO treated me during both of my internship terms. GOGO treated me as an integral part of not only a team but a family. My opinions were considered significant to the development of the organization and the expression of their work. Sometimes, a career environment treats its employees as expendable and invalid for input. GOGO taught me that I deserve to work within an environment that respects me and my experience. I hope that I may even work with a potential NYC branch of Guitars Over Guns some day.

When I interned for the Miami branch of Guitars Over Guns the Fall semester of my Junior Year, I never suspected that this would be the introduction to another group of individuals to consider both family and colleagues. I still keep in touch with the GOGO family, and I participate in their virtual showcases either as an audience member or as a performer whenever I am available. Above all, I am grateful for their support towards my growth.